Why athletes should be unstable

airex_balance_beam_square1Endurance athletes spend way too much time in a single plane of motion. This plane is directly forward (known as the Sagittal plane). The result is incredible development in the one plane of motion but under development of the stabilizing muscles. The result is often niggling or recurring injuries – plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, patellofemoral syndrome, Iliotibial band syndrome, etc.

We all know the list of common chronic injuries. These injuries often stem from muscles being asked to perform work to compensate for weaknesses elsewhere. The solution is to place the body in positions where the stabilizers are activated and developed. In doing so, the athlete will be increasingly resilient to break down & injury.

In the off season & throughout your training progression, be sure to not only execute core and hip extension strength exercises like planks, rows, squats, and deadlifts, but do so in progressively more challenging balance position. For injury resistance, consider stability development a priority over force development. Body weight exercises are sufficient.

  • Stretch cord pulls extended on one leg
  • Single leg romanian deadlifts
  • Single leg squats on a block extending the suspended leg in different directions – behind, in front, or to the side. Add complexity by standing on an unstable surface
  • Planks with one leg up or moving, plank jumpers (moving from legs closed to open), plank on an exercise ball, and side plank rotating to push up & return, etc.
  • Woodchoppers on a bosu ball

There are many variants to the basic strength exercises we all do. The key is to challenge the body to find balance and stability progressively. Start simple and add complexity every 2-3 weeks.

Develop your strength & get stable. Have fun and train safe.

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